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Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Two recent stories

Where do the days go? I make a note to do something, and then it’s like a week later and somehow it got squished to the side by everything else.

But hey, two birds with one stone! By which I mean I have had two stories published recently, and I can now link to them in one post. The first, “At the Heart of Each Pearl Lies a Grain of Sand,” requires a subscription to Sunday Morning Transport, but since this is a magazine putting out a weekly story from a broad array* of splendid authors, it’s well worth subscribing to. My own recent contribution — my second in SMT thus far — is a riff on a minor character from one of the stories in One Thousand and One Nights: what happened to her before those events, and what happens to her after.

(*To quote from their own About page: “Max Gladstone, Karen Lord, Elwin Cotman, Kij Johnson, Kat Howard, Elsa Sjunnesson, Kathleen Jennings, Sarah Monette, Juan Martinez, E.C. Myers, Maureen McHugh, Tessa Gratton, Sarah Pinsker, Yoon Ha Lee, Michael Swanwick, Brian Slattery, Malka Older, and many more.”)

The second piece, “Oh, My Cursed Daughter,” is free to read at Dream of Shadows (which, sadly, will end publication next month). This is based on a folksong, and it has a bit of history, being the only instance I can think of where I wrote a story, shopped it around, trunked it, and then wrote a completely new piece off the same starting concept. I am so glad this and not the first one is the version that got published!

all the news that’s fit to announce

I have several things for y’all today!

The big one is that Stage Two of my Onyx Court re-publication quest is complete, with a print edition of In Ashes Lie now available. (Stage One was, of course, Midnight Never Come; several more retailers links have been added to that page since its release, if you haven’t yet acquired it.) Stage Three (A Star Shall Fall) and Stage Four (With Fate Conspire) will follow in March and May, respectively, with a break in the middle there for New Worlds, Year Six, and then I’ll finally stop having eighteen balls in the air at once.

cover art for In Ashes Lie, showing a ring of fire with an inset painting of Newgate in London burning in the Great Fire

I’m also very happy to announce that my creepy folkloric story “Silver Necklace, Golden Ring” is now available to read for free on the Uncanny Magazine website. This is the piece that started off as a retelling of a particular folktale and wound up being a mishmash of five different influences headed in a direction I didn’t foresee until it happened.

And then finally, I also have a story out in Lightspeed! You can buy the issue (or subscribe to the magazine) to read “Guidelines for Using the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library,”, which I believe is my first ever listicle-style flash story, and is definitely a nerdy love letter to the quirks and weirdnesses that library used to have.

2022 in review

Publications-wise, that is. I never really know what to say about my personal life; it’s mostly a combination of uninteresting things, and stuff I don’t especially want to make public.

This was a weird year. For the first time since (I think) 2007 — which was the year after my first two books were published — I didn’t have a novel out. But since I had three in 2021 (The Mask of Mirrors, The Night Parade of 100 Demons, and The Liar’s Knot), and since I’ll have three again next year (The Game of 100 Candles, Labyrinth’s Heart, and The Waking of Angantyr), it’s not like I have much grounds to complain!

Meanwhile, on the short fiction front . . . this was a banner year, with no fewer than ten short stories published (beating out 2019, which had nine, but that was counting my fiction for Legend of the Five Rings, too). Speaking of L5R, this year also saw the publication of my first really significant game work: I’ve written micro-settings for Tiny d6, little branching adventures in 50-word chunks for Sea of Legends, RPG fluff and a few bits of mechanics for an earlier edition of L5R, but now I can lay claim to a full-bore adventure. And I’m really proud of how Imperfect Land turned out, in terms of its structure, its content, and the impact players can have on the larger world of their campaign. If any of you out there are reading for game awards and would like a review copy, just let me know!

And speaking of award nominations, if that’s your reason for looking at posts of this type, the piece I’d most like to bring to your attention is “Fate, Hope, Friendship, Foe” (3800 words, Uncanny Magazine; also available in their podcast). This is my “Atropos on a road trip through the Midwest” story, aka “the story it took me sixteen and a half years to write,” and I couldn’t be more delighted with how it turned out . . . even if for a long time there, I assumed it would never get written.

But as mentioned above, I have many other stories racked up from this year! Not all are available to read online, but:

* “Chrysalis” (5700 words, Beneath Ceaseless Skies) — a setting based on Mesoamerican folklore, where the main character is arguably a rock.

* “This Living Hand” (2900 words; Sunday Morning Transport but paywalled to subscribers) — dead Romantic poets and a willow tree that is up to no good.

* “Never to Behold Again” (440 words, Daily Science Fiction) — flash set in a world where beauty is eroded by people perceiving it.

* “The Me of Perfect Sight” (670 words, NewMyths) — Sumerian mythology about Inanna’s theft of the holy me.

* “And Ask No Leave of Thee” (7500 words, Neither Beginnings Nor Endings) — a modern retelling of “Tam Lin” that started with me figuring out how to do a non-magical version of the transformation sequence, then wound up as fantasy anyway.

* “Then Bide You There” (490 words, Dream of Shadows) — flash fiction born of me reaaaaally hating the folksong “The Two Magicians.”

* “Two for the Path” (1200 words, Shattering the Glass Slipper) — what if Snow White’s stepmother was actually trying to save her?

* “The Faces and the Masks” (340 words, Daily Science Fiction) — a meditative bit of fantasy-religious flash in the setting of the Rook and Rose series.

* “Crafting Chimera” (6700 words, ZNB Presents but paywalled to subscribers) — a psychologist tries to help a shapeshifter with identity issues.

Whoof, that’s a lot. But you know what? I already have seven stories racked up in the sold-but-not-published queue, all of which I’ve been at least tentatively told will be out in 2023. And I have two more for which I don’t have a date, but it might be in 2023. So with a few more sales — provided they’re to markets that aren’t already booked out so far, new acquisitions will be going into the 2024 schedule — I could theoretically surpass this record . . .

“Crafting Chimera”

I’m sneaking a couple more short fiction publications in before the end of the year, and the first of those is “Crafting Chimera”! It came out today in the online magazine ZNB Presents; as you’ll see if you follow that link, they’re running on Patreon, so the story is available only to ZNBP patrons. Joshua Palmatier and his company have a long track record of putting out great themed anthologies, though, so the magazine is definitely worth checking out!

As it happens, this story also comes with a funky bit of background. To learn how it made my protagonist immortal, head on over to my site . . .

Another Uncanny sale!

Something I did not expect on a Sunday afternoon, but was delighted to receive: an email letting me know that Uncanny Magazine is buying another story from me! A piece called “Silver Necklace, Golden Ring,” which is a chilly fairytale-style piece resulting from about five different inspirations smashing into one another; you can read the full background on my site.

Another SMT sale!

Signing a contract makes a thing official, right? Right! I am delighted to say I’ll have another story in Sunday Morning Transport: “At the Heart of Each Pearl Lies a Grain of Sand,” based on a tale out of the Thousand and One Nights. It will be out some time next year!

And while I’m at it, I should mention that you can read some of SMT’s stories for free — I believe the pattern is that the first story each month is publicly available, and then the remainder (one per week, on Sunday, as you might suspect), are paywalled. As my contributor status means I get a subscription, I can vouch for them publishing a fantastic range of SF/F; if you have not checked them out yet, go take a look!

New Worlds, Year Five — now in print!

If you prefer your worldbuilding essays in tangible form, you can now get New Worlds, Year Five in print from Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million,, IndieBound, and Amazon in the US or in the UK — note that the US link gives me a small commission, but I mention that for disclosure, not as a push for you to buy from Amazon.

Also also! At JordanCon last month they published their (I think) annual) anthology, this time titled Neither Beginnings Nor Endings. It contains my long story “And Ask No Leave of Thee,” which the familiar among you will have recognized as a line from the ballad “Tam Lin;” yes, after several decades, my brain finally produced a Tam Lin retelling! You can get the anthology only from Amazon, in ebook or in print (both of those commission links again).

The year’s publications

One last post, to close out the year.

I published an ABSURD amount this year, y’all. Six short stories, which is quite a respectable number for me these days . . . and thanks to the vagaries of publishing schedules, THREE novels in the same calendar year. That isn’t normal, yo. But yeah, 2021 saw the release of The Mask of Mirrors in January, The Night Parade of 100 Demons just two weeks later in February, and then The Liar’s Knot here at the end of the year. Ooof.

As for the short fiction:

. . . plus five reprints in various places.

2022 will not look the same, because it can’t. But here’s hoping for a good year, regardless.